Tag Archives: Physical regeneration

Awareness Of History

I have been working on a regeneration proposal for 2 years and thought I would release some of it in segments for those interested in having a look.

I have chosen History as a segment

Awareness of History

More education of African history and more focus on promoting African and Caribbean
history to young people, and adults. The awareness of history can be taught from the
home, and in community groups. For example there are after school clubs run by black
people these are good avenues to teach this to black children.

The home is the first place children should be made aware of their history, parents who
are not educated, should be educated on their history and how this has affected them,
even if it is West Indian history from the Windrush or about the respective countries they
came from. This will provide an avenue for black people to work from and then this can
then be provided to children.

There are some organisations which provide lectures and talks on seminars, there may
be the opportunity for a resource to be put up in place for teaching parents and adults to
teach young people their history with free and paid for tool kits to facilitate this teaching.
The importance of learning African Centred history is for a greater sense of self, as part of
social regeneration, where people are then able to make informed decisions on
economically being able to provide for themselves and their community, through
employment of black people in their businesses and investing locally as well as physical
regeneration in regards to pride in their area cleaning their path and keeping their
gardens tidy, which may have a knock on effect with their neighbours.

The process of undertaking this:

  • Educating Adults, who would like to educate their children on this history.
  • Educating young people in black youth clubs and organisations around the local
    area.
  • Educating young people in Saturday schools, after school cubs and home-
    schooling.
  • A national, regional or another organisation providing online and paper tool kits
    (paid for the paper tool kits) for other groups or parents to educate their children on learning about black history.
  • More presentations based on Ancient Kemet (Egypt), Timbuktu, African Presence.

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Regenerating old business for new ventures

In previous blogs, I have written about physical regeneration and the effect this can have on the community and its development. This can be applied to gentrification and the effects on the local community. In the UK in 2008 and 2009, when the recession hit and there were a load of empty shop spaces in local communities and high streets around the UK it was an opportunity to rent these spaces and provide private venture and charitable services.

In black areas, we are the last people it seems to want to have a sense of ownership in our areas, the psychology is one of a temporary nature rather than one looking at the short and medium term. This was the thought process of Caribbean persons, who used to own businesses in the 1980’s and prior to this time, who in the late 80’s and early 90’s decided to pack up and go back to the caribbean. This was a time when the next generation should have taken over the shops but it was instead a goal of that generation to ensure their children were professionals working in white organisations and businesses.

This has its problems as there were many businesses which were abandoned or sold to races outside of the community. There was also a recession at this time which left some businesses going under or being left abandoned. This should have been approached in any of the following ways:

  • The owner could have rented the space to another black person

  • The business could have been passed to the younger generation

  • Rent the building from the local authority then eventually buy it

  • Partnerships created to rent/purchase the building or the business

The local authority in the UK generally in certain areas, will look to either (preferably) sell the building so they do not need to pay to manage it anymore or rent it out at a favourable rate as they would like to generate income with there being funding cuts. If your reading this from say the US I’m not sure how it works but I’m sure in areas which are not desirable the cost of the shop or building would be cheaper.

This is a huge contributory factor as to why we (in the UK or US) have a lack of black businesses and high black unemployment as businesses are left to fester or buildings are bought by other races and either sell our products to us or others. We need to look after ourselves too, who else will.

Some further information:

Rescuing a empty property in the UK (www.bbc.co.uk)

Derelict London (www.derelictlondon.com)

Some Derelict Buildings across America (www.opacity.us)

Source to purchase a derelict building (www.robinson-jackson.com)

Heat Maps

Formerly in a role as a digital divide professional, I would often use heat maps when predicting, which areas of the local community had access to wifi or broadband internet. This would assist in considering where new wifi or internet initiatives would be implemented to get more people connected to the Internet and to utilise Internet services.

 

This relates to make my own people more aware of black, social, economic and physical (buildings and environmentally) cohesive. The current mode from what I have observed is to just create rhetoric and initiatives, without considering factors, which can include: the level of icons of the area, local amenities (black owned), the level of education and the level of income.

 

These factors can assist in designing initiatives and rhetoric to present an idea to our own people of why black cohesiveness is important on all scales (no matter how big or small). There are some initiatives as a result, which would be created for smaller community of black people, who may put together to create a market stall selling our foods and cosmetics. In larger communities, initiatives and meetings could be held asking if the people want a grocery shop and other shops such as book and educational and other services such as family support, where professionals (black) can assist socially.

 

The maps are important, sometimes we overlook the value of this I favour of getting the message out, whilst I agree it looks on the surface (at least) that one size is meant to fit all.

This economy needs some thought

Recently, I’ve listened to, watched and read numerous sources talking about the creation of a black economy or strengthening the currency within the black community. Illustrating the aim of creating power with our money, on the whole I agree with this much needed concept.

Though, my socially concious way has not allowed me to say this is the case to solve our money, community togetherness and the cleanliness of our neighbourhoods. A plan for community development is required, which connects business to social and community projects, which can then create a sense of pride, rather than the view I have concluded business will solve everything.

Considering the business aspect of this plan, the question can be asked whether or not, these businesses can create jobs, especially in the UK. Can the businesses which are involved in the plan, provide employment to the skills, which exist in the community. The deciding factor will be to ask if the community requires the product, which the business is providing.

The factor, which should also be considered when developing a black economy (business dominated or otherwise) is the creation of a partnership or cooperative working initiative between the businesses and the community groups, in respects to housing, youth, education and health as these are key to determining the cohesion of a community.

Businesses will and would be tested as to whether they would use tax breaks or sponsorship to support the running of non profit black organisations locally or if they would want the local government to continue funding this.

There are many skilled people who have come from black dominated areas and have left. Encouraging the highly skilled and trained professionals to stay in the area is important. This will provide the opportunity for them to use (social and financial) resources to build up schools, invest in businesses and get more involved in community initiatives.

People in communities (especially black ones) need to consider housing and environmental issues. A business dominated economy would need to look at investing in homes or at least being part of the discussions. The business will say it’s the governments or the individual’s responsibility but if we are creating an economy, we must ensure the participants are at least accommodated.

Talk of creating a bank is great but could still put our own people in a position with no access to money, a in the form of a bank account loans or savings. The business led economy, may not consider a cooperative, which is important to the plan to formalise credit unions for those who cannot access commercial black banks. This can increase home, property and business ownership, developing a stronger currency with in our communities.

Finally, businesses may argue community and not for profit services can get government funding and this is true, but if we can fund it ourselves too, we will be able to develop further as a whole.

I’m for the black economy, but we need to consider how we can make it work and how it can improve all aspects of the communities existence.

Blog: Resources inwards, not outwards

A few months ago, I went to a talk about gentrification and how this was taking away from the black communities, mainly in London. There is also a comparative version of this in parts of New York too. This is something I had suffered personally, as a younger naive adult, where I thought people who were moving into these areas wanted to live amongst black people not just to live there as a social status.

The potential solution to the problem I have is not so much the gentrified it’s more black people banding together and creating a local cooperative to build businesses and to purchase buildings for community use. The problem this would solve would be the businesses which gentrification brings with it such as higher rents, higher property prices and shops with food and products, which are pricing out the local people, my focus being on black people.

The (one of a few) benefits of having the middle classes moving into areas, such as this, is it may create more business in black shops for a small period of time. A concern is that over a longer period of time the novelty would wear off and they would revert to type. So should we create businesses, which allows for black people to shop affordable on the area and own some buildings to avoid us being priced and pushed out. This can create social and economic cohesion between us as a people.

Those black people who settled in the area tend to as adults have social structures and activities established. The concern is the younger generation do not have these opportunities as their parents. There are few activities to empower young people and so the crime is driven up and young black people are driven to crime as there are a lack of activities or finances.

There should be initiatives only for black people, which looks at encouraging young black youth to make and sell items. Possibly a market stall in the morning, on the weekends and specific days in the holidays, with after school clubs and parents encouraging the children to use their creative minds to make something (art or craft) or even fix things (electrical or analogue). There should defiantly education classes and sports and activities clubs to teach fitness and mental endurance.

This would then prepare us better against the effects of gentrification. A lot of attention is put on adults as the parents believe black children are taken care of in the education system , but they too are affected by gentrification.

Black Physical Regeneration

Back when I was studying my regeneration certificate I studied a module in physical regeneration. This was an opportunity for me to see how regeneration of towns and cities could take place in regards to the physical environment. I discuss this, now in the context of black people, whether you are here (UK) or abroad. The point I wish to make is clearly we have black areas which are sometimes said to be unclean in regards to the streets and the buildings, especially shops. The regular quoted point is that there is a mentality of if one building is cleaned the. The neighbours will then clean the outside of their building or paint it. This includes cleaning the Path in front of your house to install/contribute towards a sense of pride in the community.

This can also extend to the purchasing of buildings, since doing this course I have seen a number of buildings, which if I had access to funding, I would turn into a building that promotes economic and social activity within the local community. In the UK black people are now very reliant on the state to provide funding and resources, as oppose to an avenue to providing additional funding to what we can raise as a community. This is because we A. don’t trust each other to group our money together and B. we take a Eurocentric view on wanting to see where our taxes go and want it to work for us.

There is an alternative which our (mainly) West Indian descendants did, which was to pool our money together and buy (by a pardnor or Suso system). Back then it was houses but how about buying a old building and renting it out to black businesses at a low cost to make a small profit but also to be responsible for building maintenance and ensuring customer service standards are kept up to date. The maintenance of buildings and businesses is importance for a local sense of pride and cohesion.

In one class, the lecturer had said that the sense of a local area can be gained by looking at the state of the buildings, if they are occupied or not. There is much agreement to this as if there are many boarded up buildings. In the black community, this can only encourage squatting and delinquency, when a community group could combine funds and purchase the building.

There are initiatives in American black communities of black people purchasing buildings and leading them back to our own at favourable rates. This when analysed is more beneficial than gentrification occurring when the middle classes start to move in after property moguls buy the properties at a cheap price attract hipster then the area becomes expensive to live in. This is a choice we have at least in the areas not gentrified, yet.